Airplane noise deters from quality of life in Queens

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Summer is coming. For northeast Queens residents, this used to mean enjoying time with family, playing sports, biking and walking near Kissena Park or Little Neck Bay. But for the past three years it has meant isolating oneself inside, jamming the windows shut and waiting for a reprieve from a new, low altitude flight route that has inundated the area with hundreds of planes per day.

It goes on all summer long, without a peep from some of our local politicians or media. It’s the sort of pollution – and it is very much pollution – that can permanently change a community. And that is what will happen this summer, if conditions remain unchanged.

For the past three years, many of us have been told that in order for our city to compete and remain economically viable we must double our air traffic at both airports. We hear these sorts of statements at the aviation roundtable and from billionaire activists through the media outlets that they own. Mostly, we hear it from the city Economic Development Corporation, whose members are supported by the same tax base that is being jettisoned from Queens by aviation industry expansion.

We are told that NYC has become dependent upon tourism and real estate for its very existence, and that we must enhance our air transportation. We must cram in as many planes as possible into the existing infrastructure, change routes and abandon noise mitigation of any kind. We must do it, we are told, regardless of the environmental impact, because our economic future depends on it.

Almost unnoticed, the aviation industry has expanded and consumed whole neighborhoods in Queens. Through a seldom used loophole, FAA lawyers were granted an exemption from environmental and health studies that would have incorporated noise and air pollution mitigation. Without the studies, components of FAA initiatives like NextGen and Airspace Redesign have been implemented at will, wherever and however they please, without regard for public health.

In northeast Queens, the “TNNIS” route replaced three noise mitigation routes that had reached an altitude of 2,500 feet before passing over a single residence. TNNIS, by contrast, passes over 240,000 residents before reaching that same altitude.

TNNIS was the first of several major changes implemented on behalf of New York’s real estate and tourism industries. It was aimed at condensing the New York airspace in order to pack in as many planes - and people - as possible. And we need to pack in as many planes as possible, we’re told, because, aside from tourism, our city has no other industries left. We must pack in the tourists and keep the luxury condos full, and we need this new route to do it. So TNNIS rages on, its usage ever increasing. On a map, the route looks like a concentrated trail of exhaust fumes spewing from an old muffler, plane after pane after plane. To me, TNNIS is the exhaust pipe of hyper gentrification.

TNNIS has thrown communities and families into chaos. Homes are for sale everywhere and the professionals that anchored the area for decades are leaving. Kids can’t hear their teachers and doctors can’t get a proper blood pressure reading from their patients. The area is becoming unlivable. Flushing, a 400-year old town with roots in the religious freedom movement on which the country was based, is being sacrificed. It may ultimately be absorbed by the aviation industry.

We’ll find out this summer.

Brian Wills

East Flushing

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

Maybe 3 from Queens says:
I have lived in NE Queens for 35 years. In the last month, I have heard planes 3 times. Wow yeah we need a round table discussion to solve this horror in my life. Yes 3 times. Maybe I can collect from the govt for this horror.
April 10, 2015, 8:23 am
Thats because your not from Queens says:
The noise is insane, non-stop and unbearable. Stop spamming the airplane noise articles for whatever business interests your supporting.

There are over 500 departures from runway 13 every week, sometimes 1,000. They all use TNNIS directly over Flushing and Bayside.
April 10, 2015, 9:03 am
Poor communication from Brooklyn says:
"Your" supporting? I believe the correct grammar would be "you're" supporting. Are you a third grader or a third worlder.
When you learn English, come back and vent about your problems.
April 10, 2015, 9:21 am
Now he's from Brooklyn says:
But an hour ago he was from Queens. He doesn't hear the noise, but he comments habitually. It's not a big deal, but he's knows all about the roundtable and obviously can't stop following the story. Working for the PA? The FAA? GGA?

What's this about "third worlders" now? Is "worlders" a word?
April 10, 2015, 9:30 am
Mrs. Darcy from Bayside says:
These trolls are paid for by the business interests that are pushing mindless expansion of our airports in Queens. They are paid to look for references to aviation and respond in their masters' voices. There's no reason to pay them any mind. And, parenthetically, I believe this entire comment is grammatically correct.
April 10, 2015, 9:38 am
Frequent Nonflyer from Auburndale says:
This troll has been outed!

The letter is exactly right.
April 10, 2015, 10:06 am
Nassau Resident from Northern Nassau says:
It's not just Queens and LGA that are an issue. Changes to the arrival paths at JFK now have planes flying as east as Melville and north as Huntington before slicing south across all of Nassau into JFK. It does this at altitudes of 1800 - 2000 feet. Every 90 seconds for 12, 20 , 40 or even 50 hours non-stop.

The FAA claims FONSI - 'finding of no significant impact'... that's the loophole.

And you morons who troll to spot peoples grammatical errors.... geeez, get a life.
April 10, 2015, 12:46 pm
Sarcasm from Flushing says:
Anyone who makes a grammatical error deserves to be inundated in deafening airplane noise forever!
April 10, 2015, 12:53 pm
Fight The Power from Long Island says:
For far too long, the hardworking people of Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Long Island, Westchester have put up with the ever increasing plane traffic that the Airlines, FAA and Port Authority have put over our families and homes. We will no longer tolerate the complete obliteration of our Health, Well-Being, and Way of Life so that even more money can be made off of our backs. Anyone not affected by these illegal changes do not understand the effects that they bring. Having planes flying over your home every 60 seconds hour after hour, day after day, week after week is something that is so unbelievably soul/body killing. It is something that has the capability of creating true health problems as well as mental issues. The movement has started and is not only a local and national one, but also a global one. We, the people, are the voice and hold the true power. Time to vote those representatives that are responsible, out of office. Time to take off the gloves. The agencies that have taken advantage for all these years should fear the change, because like the planes they so easily send over our homes, will keep coming and coming and coming and coming and coming.
April 10, 2015, 1:25 pm
Listener from Broadway-Flushing says:
To the writer who said "In the last month, I have heard planes 3 times." If you give your phone number, I can recommend a good ear doctor.
April 10, 2015, 4:06 pm
Nassau County from North Shore says:
The FAA and PA are corrupt and destroying the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of resident by using 22L as the primary runway at JFK. What is worse, the politicians don't even care about their constituents....they will come elections time. Planes 13 miles away from jfk flying over at 1800 feet every 30 seconds.
April 10, 2015, 5:12 pm
Wideimaging from Flushing says:
Aircraft noise is just perception. When it comes to development the noise issue goes away; why else would building to new heights that exceed CFR 77 , closer to the source of the noise, requiringFAA obstruction studies, be endorsed by the Comunity Board? As long as a building is not actually hit by an aircraft who cares abut noise?
April 10, 2015, 6:20 pm
Chris Mullin for Mayor from Queens says:
The army didn't blast Manuel Noriega out of his bunker with "perception". They used 100 decibels of noise, just as loud as some of the MD88 aircraft that now pass over Flushing.

Also, its the repetition of the noise that is worse. 500 planes per day, at 30 seconds apart, is much worse than 1 loud fire engine.

And as for zoning restrictions: have you seen NYC lately? There is no more zoning. The whole city is being demolished and rebuilt.
April 10, 2015, 7:18 pm
Too Much Noise from Valley Stream says:
Can someone explain to me why Jet Blue, Delta and American Airlines all scored seats at the LaGuardia/JFK Airport Noise Roundtable? Isn't that like giving Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a seat on the jury at his own Boston Marathon bombing trial?
April 11, 2015, 4:07 pm
Nassau Resident from Northern Nassau says:
What 'fight the power' states is true... i live it every day!!! But I fear, we have no power to make the change. The FAA has been given free reign over the skies. Voting out Schumer or whoever won't change that. And our wonderful Mr Mangana.... what a piece of #%@. Sent him a note asking him to 'get some skin in the game and help fight for us'... to fight for his constituents.... and what does he say? - 'not my problem, talk to your congressman'. I was at that roundtable and what a farce it was. I bet none of the people voted onto that board live under a runway path, but they all enjoyed playing government.
April 11, 2015, 4:20 pm
Plane After Plane from North Shore LI says:
What people don't know is, that planes departing from LGA are taking a very slow climb to cruising altitude to save the airlines $700 in fuel cost each flight. If the airport and airlines wanted to be good neighbors, they would get the planes up as high as possible faster so that less people would be affected.
April 13, 2015, 7:30 am
Taxes from North Shore says:
How about all of us affected by this illegal change stops paying property tax? Then the government would start seeing just how many people are being tortured on a daily basis, and just how much power we truly have.
April 14, 2015, 10:45 am
Alex from QV says:
The solution Move out of Queens, its not easy all the time, but sometimes its the wiser choice.

Added to the disgrace is that our airports are not world-class like other countries and around jfk the neighborhoods are not that great with amenities.

Of course LI doesn't have to suffer much with airplane noise. But then would politicians fight to have more airports and commerce in SE queens.
April 29, 2015, 4:28 am
Andie from Jackson Heights says:
Having just bought a co-op in Jackson Heights, Queens, after having lived in many different, often noisy neighborhoods in NYC which we could tolerate reasonably, we were absolutely shocked at the screaming planes shaking our building at approx. one per minute from early morning to late night! It's unbearable. And we were so excited about living in this lovely, historical community.

We found Queens Quiet Skies, a very good organization, that's connected nationally as well, and is working hard on this issue.
We must all work on this together!
And it's important to complain about airplane noise, as often as necessary:
May 3, 2015, 10:04 am
Richard from Kew Garden Hills says:
I just move back here full time after many years away and now I am ready to move away again. The noise and vibrations from aircraft taking off from La Guardia at the rate of two or three per minute is torturous. It is impossible to live under these conditions. Even with all my windows shut tight the airplane noise makes it impossible for me to live comfortably in my home. Why have we been sold out like this?
Please join the Quite Skies organization so we can fight this together, as a group and maybe we will have a chance to restore some sanity to this situation.
May 7, 2015, 8:47 pm
Adrastos from Bath Beach Brooklyn says:
We have the same terrible loud aircraft noise in my neighborhood of Bath Beach Brooklyn also. I live clear across the land from LGA, but since 2012 when NextGen was implemented I now have to hear airplanes fly over my once quiet neighborhood every 30 seconds all day long at terribly low altitudes.
This is simply unfair that the FAA was allowed to change air paths right over peoples homes without the public's input. Our airports are both built on the water, there should be no need for the airplanes to fly over residential neighborhoods. Wasnt that the reason they were built ther in the first place? Also LGA was a small airport, it was built to have airplanes with 50 passengers or less, not to be a major hub for hundreds of planes to land and take off a day.

We need the flight paths to be put back the way they were where everyone was happy. This is also happening all over America. The FAA and our elected officials do not care about the tax payers quality of life at all. Michael Heurta of the FAA does not care, our senators do not care, our mayor does not care. The only thing they are looking to do is increase fights more and more and more, just how far apart can airplanes fly?, they are already at 340 second intervals, which makes it a constant droan all day long.

This is complete noise pollution, airplanes is offensive, intrussive and simply maddening, why cant our elected officials get this through thier thick heads.

Criminal is what it is.
May 8, 2015, 10:29 am
Adrastos from Bath Beach Brooklyn says:
correction, 30 second intervals apart.
May 8, 2015, 10:30 am
Betsy from South Ozone Park says:
The noise level and pollution from airlines (JetBlue, American, to mention a few) heading to JFK is horrendous in the South Ozone area.
Cancer rates have increased in these areas from the pollution levels.
The noise is unbearable and uncontrollable as the routes operate all through the day.
Aug. 6, 2015, 8:25 pm
Nancy from Forest Hills from Forest Hills says:
The planes are flying extremely low over my apartment building at a rate of less than one every minute. It is getting worse and worse! The flight pattern routes these planes (landing at LaGuardia) early in the morning around 6 am, through the day and into the night well past 11:15-11:30 pm. What can we do beside complain? Complaints don't seem to get action. It is jarring and I don't even want to take a day off to "relax" at home any more.
Aug. 28, 2015, 1:15 pm
Outraged Flushing Resident from Sanford Av & Parsons Blvd. says:
Unbelievable!!! It was sheer stupidity or just intentional abuse to drive residents out of Flushing.Totally unlivable now, Thundering Planes flying every 10 seconds, hundreds of flights a day over my residence 17 hours straight, every damn day. This shows how backwards our society and government is. The government can't solve anything right. I'm moving as soon as possible. No one should move to Flushing, and everyone should get a tax credit for their diminished home values!! But, the government is too blind about that too, and instead still raising property taxes. The next move, is to move out of NYC totally!!!
Sept. 3, 2015, 1:30 pm
naomi matten from Jackson Heights 11372 says:
I have lived here for about 13 years, and the last year a very noticeable change has taken place. There is a plane landing or taking off every few seconds. You have derailed the patterns, because we did not have this noise until this past year. It now only on the weekends. What neighborhood is getting it during the week. I was told since a lot of politicians live in Great Neck, they have re-routed the pattern of noise so they do not have to endure what JH is going thru. Anyway something has to be done, and it should not take years.
Sept. 13, 2015, 7:41 am
Getting Closer from Port Washington says:
Here is some info on things happening:

Congresswoman Rice has been added as a co-sponsor to the FAA Community Accountability Act – a piece of legislation aimed at holding the FAA accountable for the high level of aviation noise we all experience in our communities.
Oct. 19, 2015, 10:50 am
About to be Ex-Flushing Resident from Flushing Queens says:
THIS IS FACT!!! PLANES FLYING OVERHEAD EVERY 10 seconds! Non stop! My house and every house is shaking and windows are rattling from the planes rumbling above at Sanford Ave and Beech Ave. How can any agency get away with victimizing residents like this? I'll have to move, since every year everyone becomes tone deaf to our legitimate complaints year after year after year. Hope this ends one day. Maybe it will take Trump to fix this. And you wonder my people give up on our government.
May 2, 2016, 9:21 pm
Pissed OFF!!! from Flushing says:
Here we go again 110 decibel airplanes thundering over my house every 10 seconds!!!!! WTF is wrong with the idiots at FAA and why is everyone not fighting to FIX this already. This about 5 years straight of this TNNIS flight route from Runway 13 at LaGuardia. What a disaster.
July 1, 2016, 10:39 am
adrastos from bath beach says:
the FAA does not care about any of the residents.
everywhere nextgen is implements, thousands of complains start.
you would think the FAA would realize this, but they simply dont care.
yes, it is criminal that the FAA gets away with changingflight paths over peoples homes that never had any flight paths what so ever. All our elected officials such as chuck schumer and the other retard gillibrand, both d these idiots have done nothing regarding this issue since 2012. truth is, they dont care about all the taxpayers, shame on them
Aug. 1, 2017, 12:31 pm

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